Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Into the Ordinary

Okay, I will admit. Though I don't think any of ya'll were doing cartwheels over my milestone, I almost didn't post again. Seeing that even number 1000 when I signed onto blogger was so cool. I almost hate to change it. But you know me. I will. :)

If you have just read this blog the last week, you might think that I am a downer of a person who does not appreciate the God-given roles in her life. I will admit, this weekend, I wasn't truly treasuring much of anything. I know the weather has played a HUGE part in it. Even though I am pasty white, I crave sunlight. It has also affected the kiddos who until this past week hadn't been able to play outside in about a month due to really yucky weather. There is also just the fact that I am a woman. Sometimes my emotions are on a roller coaster ride. I am just along for the ride sometimes screaming to get off but I am buckled in. Finally I was coming off a week of parent/teacher conferences, meaning I was SOOO tired. All that to say, what I went through this past weekend is not necessarily the norm.

Then, ironically over the same weekend, I kept visiting friends' blogs and seeing the following video. I actually resisted watched it for a while. I was in a funk and honestly just wanted to have a pity party for a bit. I had a feeling this video would stir up my heart, and at the time, I was content to just stay in the "mud" where I was rather than climb out of it. After about the third time of seeing it flash across my screen, I caved. I decided to watch it. The results? I boohooed like a baby of course.

I have recently been noticing those ordinary moments. They are the ones I don't typically take pictures of with a camera (and even if I get a camera out to do so, the moment would be over before I hit the power button). Yet I often take "snapshots" in my head, wanting to remember the moment forever. (Unfortunately with my memory, that may not happen) Things like...

  • watching my daughter run up to the gym for her basketball practice. Sometimes when she is running in, her hair pulled back into yet another ponytail (hairstyle of choice right now), I catch a glimpse of the little girl I used to watch run across the yard. Where did that little girl go?
  • Just last month I did an update post about our youngest. I talked about how he loved looking at books, though all we did was label and identify what he saw in pictures. Over and over and over. In the last week, he has suddenly decided he likes to READ books. He brings me the same books over and over and over to read, I actually say the words on the page. And he is beginning to memorize them and anticipate what is coming next. How did that transition happen?
  • Conversations with our oldest. He (to me) has always talked about the deeper stuff of life even from a young age. This is the same child I wasn't sure was ever going to talk. When he did, he went out full force. Now our conversations have a totally different feel. We are starting to talk about some topics and issues I didn't think we could for a few years. They are good talks, open and honest usually. But I sometimes find myself wondering, "When did we stop talking about why the sky is blue?"
  • At that same childs last parent/teacher conference, I suddenly realized that it was the last elementary parent/teacher conference we would have. It doesn't help that he has had the same teacher for three years (third through fifth grade). I immediately felt tears spring to my eyes when I realized that.
  • Child 3 has also been interested in reading. The exception is that she is now reading to me. She isn't a fluent reader yet but she can read several sight words and figures out patterns, so we take turns reading books that I once read to her.
  • Her vocabulary has suddenly shifted. She used words like "frigid" to describe the weather and "gills" to tell me what a shark does in the water.
  • Child 4's vocabulary has also shifted. He gives us longer detailed sentences and tells me details about his day.
  • He has decided he likes "showers" like his older siblings. Just last week, he wanted to take a bath instead.

I could go on and on, but I must get ready for school. I just couldn't help but reflect on those ordinary moments that we have around here that are fleeting. In the blink of an eye, they are gone, never to come back again.

Today I choose to enjoy them. How about you?


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oh, This Restless Heart of Mine

Can I be honest with you? Of course, I am going to do it even if you say, "No, Reba, I prefer you to not be" because I will have already written this. Sometimes I just have to share the nitty gritty of life. And I apologize if this ruins any ideals you may have of me (which I could have assured you a long time ago were erroneous :).

Let me preface all of this by saying I do love my family. I truly do. And I am so very blessed to be the wife of Mark and the mother to our four. I am grateful for what God has placed in my life. I really am. And I love my role as teacher. I truly look forward to each day (once I get past that moment of the alarm going off before I am ready for it to). I have learned over and over (especially in the last year) how life can change in the blink of an eye; all that I treasure can be lost in a moment. Please know that I am not making light of this at all.

I have to confess though. Sometimes, I get a little restless. Well, right now I am a LOT restless. And I am not sure how to fix it.

If you had asked me five years ago to describe myself, I am pretty sure that the word "homebody" would have come up at some point. And in some ways, I still am. I do enjoy evenings at home, especially laid back evenings that don't require delivering children anywhere or rushing here and there. I am still highly protective of our family meals (though they are fine with me when we are eating out too :). And I tend to stay within about a five mile radius of my house if at all possible, with the exception of Target which is a little further away. So in some ways, homebody is an accurate description.

However, even as much as I like being at home, I have a little spirit of adventure. Little being the keyword. You will not find me hang gliding or parachuting any time soon. And forget camping for me. There is nothing that appeals to me about community showers or sleeping in a cold tent. But I do enjoy the adventure of travel. I love to visit new places (though I like to find out what I can before I go so I know what I am doing :) and try new things...within reason.

Lately, I feel trapped. I have a restless heart. I want to go. I want to do. I just don't know how to fix it. I find myself saying, "Honey, do you ever think of just leaving it all behind and starting over somewhere else?" Today I was walking through the grocery store, cart full of groceries, and I actually felt a heavy weight on my chest...I just felt the need to run away as far as I can. I asked Mark when I came home whether it ever occurred to him that I might NOT come home. It hadn't. I am too predictable. Maybe too reliable...

I have several theories for why I am feeling this way. One is that life is busy right now. We are so careful about not over involving our kids. We have always said "one thing at a time". And we have stuck with it with the exception of Child 2 and gymnastics/basketball, mainly because gymnastics doesn't have an "end" and it is very different than basketball. It is a fine line, that line between wanting your kids to try new things and not overloading the family. That is where I am VERY thankful for Mark. We divide and conquer a lot (like this morning when one had swim team and another had a basketball game).

Another theory is the weather. It has been a long winter. I realize this winter is the same length as all of our other winters. However, we have had a LOT more snow than usual. I don't recall ever having this many snow days. I also don't recall this many days of indoor recess. That means (especially as cold natured as I am) that I am stuck inside too. And as much as I love our house, the walls are closing in on!

There is also just the responsibilities of life. Being at home so much reminds me of how much this house needs to be cleaned out and organized. The dishwasher is always either full of dirty dishes or clean dishes. There is no in between. We have baskets of laundry waiting to be done. (An unfortunate consequence of parent/teacher conference week is that I get further behind on housekeeping than usual.) Meals need to be made. And children need to be tended to whether it is supervising homework or reading "Thomas the Tank Engine" yet again. Right now, one child is being a bit extra ornery which means a lot of extra energy on my part to handle the behavior. And another child is extremely clingy. When we went to my mom's house yesterday, I was going to leave for a short bit with my sister. I was walking toward the door with a child wrapped around my leg. Oh, to be can be a bit suffocating at times!

As you know, I am struggling through Biggest Loser right now. I lose a little, I gain a little. Thus far, I think I am only one pound less than I was when I started. I am not starving myself by any means, but what I eat is always in front of me, in every thought. I eat light chips, light sour cream, light/2 % cheese, baked cheetos, etc. If I am going to have a bigger meal for dinner, I eat a lighter lunch. I am trying to stick with one soft drink a day (and even more, trying to stick to an 8 ounce rather than a 12 ounce). I have been exercising quite a bit. In fact, I have "worked out" more in the past six weeks than all of last year put together. I have recently been cutting back due to my knee pain but I am still trying to work out. All that to say, I still feel a little deprived. I find myself recently looking at "bad foods" with longing eyes and a drooling mouth. In some ways, I wonder if my need for "adventure" is a need to fill the hole that depriving myself of what I truly want to eat leaves in my gut. Oh, I know I shouldn't deprive myself but should show moderation. I am afraid though if I just let myself eat what I wanted, there would be NO moderation. :)

Finally, and let me say I feel like a lawyer here building a case, I don't have as much travel to look forward to. Last year we went to DC for spring break, Florida for a week in the summer, and then of course we ended the year with Disney World. Okay, we overdid it a bit with travel last year. That is why our budget is a bit bare right now. But it sure was fun. :) We are planning on the beach again this summer (scraping and saving), but that is about it. I have mentioned (to hubby) possibly a long weekend a few hours away for some family hiking over spring break, but that was met with a "hohum" response. So right now, the beach is it. It just seems SO far away. And Mark and I have really not had more than a night away in a really long time. We don't really have people lined up to keep our four kiddos. :) Hiking last fall helped meet some of the "adventurous spirit" but right now, it is too cold and too wet.

The signs of a restless heart are obvious. Signs like hanging out on the internet but without much purpose...just kind of escaping. (The i-Touch also does that, provides a bit of escape, especially when I start playing Scramble 2) Signs like raising my voice in frustration when I find out that once again, a little person purposely did not wash their hands or is trying to aggravate a sibling. Signs like tossing a child's book (not at a child, just to the side) when it is waved repeatedly in front of my face while I try to finish up a chore. Signs like longingly looking at travel ads that come across the computer screen.

So I have the signs. I have the symptoms. I just don't have the cure. I just know that at least today...I have a very restless heart!

PS Just for the record, I don't truly plan on running away any time soon. I really know I would miss everyone if I some point. :) But it doesn't mean I don't think about it on occasion. :)

PSS I don't know that I really need to escape FROM the family. I just really need to get away. Family is welcome to come too. Hopefully spring will be here soon and we can do a little hiking.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is that a flash of light...

at the end of the tunnel?

We only have parent/teacher conferences twice a school year. We meet one time in early September, and then we meet again in February. I always enjoy getting to talk to parents about their children. I really do. However, the down side is that makes for a REALLY long day. And my time with my own kiddos is fairly limited. (I am extra thankful for a hubby who adjusts his schedule to meet our needs during times like this...)

One more. I just have one more conversation to go. Then I have 100 percent...yeah for me!

Today (Wednesday) we had our own kids' conferences. I won't go into all of the details because they aren't terribly exciting anyway. Of course, since I am at the school, there aren't really many surprises. I usually know what happens in "live time". Mark is always wonderful about coming too to hear the highlights and anything we need to work on. All went well. I am very thankful for my kids' teachers. I have no doubt they really know our kids and want the best for them. We are very blessed!

The nice thing was that we got to come home after conferences (and haircuts for the boys) and eat dinner together. I always relish that time together even though it is usually busy and sometimes loud. :) I had missed not being home the last couple of nights.

Well, I am off to get ready for the day (because it is now Thursday morning...I slept a little in the midst of one very short entry :).

PS Oh, really quick...just a few more things to feel grateful for...

  • My sister is here! (And her kids) Woohoo! That was a fun surprise...I didn't realize they were coming until this week.
  • Our school PTA is wonderful. They have provided food for us all week during our parent/teacher conference hours. So when we have a little break in conferencing, we can run to the lounge to eat. You will not believe what I ate the other day...vegetarian lasagna! Me, the non-vegetable eater. And I liked it!
  • Taco night. (Our dinner last night) It is our one meal that we all like. We all eat them different ways but we all eat them!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Romancing the Stone

You have probably figured out (if you are really paying attention) that Friday nights are my worst posting nights. I have every intention. I really do. For some reason, by Friday, all of the week's fatigue catches up with me. And I just crash. I usually get as far as the title, and then do not have the energy to continue.

Anyway, since I have been thinking about Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a few Valentine's treats we have done for one another over the years. I am pretty sure they are from Valentine's though some may be from anniversaries. Let me add that some years we go "all out" for V-Day, other years it is just another day with maybe a special meal at home. It is always nice to celebrate our love but it doesn't always have to happen on the 14th of February!

One year, I think it was 2000, we went on a trip to Colorado to go skiing. Let me rephrase that. Mark went skiing. I stayed behind in the condo and cared for our firstborn, who was just a little tyke at the time. I did a lot of the printing at home for this project then took it on the trip to cut apart. A quick and cheap Valentines's gift...365 reasons I love you. Yes, I did. I wrote 365 reasons I loved Mark and then cut them up with scrapbook scissors and put them in a jar. That way, he could read one daily. I know that it sounds like a lot but it wasn't as hard as it sounds. I just broke them down into categories like "physical attributes", "work attributes", "how he helps at home", "fatherhood", etc. Then I did like 20 for each one. He never has read all of usual, we just get busy with life. I need to go back and read them sometime...we only had one child when I did it. Life is a little different nowadays. (Oh, one year I took the ones he had read and was stuffing in his nightstand and created a little scrapbook of it)

I don't remember if this was for Valentine's Day, but I created a big list of questions and sentence starters in case we ever needed conversation starters. I guess before kids, that was a possibility. And maybe even after having one kiddo. Now that we have four kids, starting conversations is not such an issue. Staying awake for one is. :)
This was another early one. I made coupons for him, like for "one stupid" which he gave me pretty promptly...meaning he could do something stupid and I couldn't get mad. Not too mad. :)
There are some others I do not have pictures for...

One of my favorites was when I made a scavenger hunt with little rhyming clues. I sent Mark all over town finding clues (like at church, at a customer's office, the public library, etc.). Each time he found the envelope, he got a new clue AND a piece of a puzzle. On the puzzle were directions to a cabin I had rented about an hour away. When he arrived at the cabin finally, I had dinner waiting...what a wonderful weekend getaway we had. Nothing like building up some anticipation and keeping the mystery alive!

There is also the time (mentioned in my "Love Is..." post) that Mark came to school to try to read a love letter over the announcements. I don't know that most people recognized who it was since he choked up on the first sentence. I knew. He sounded just like he did at our wedding trying to read a "declaration of love".

I once left love notes all over the house...cheesy but true. Like the one hanging from the ceiling fan that said "I am a fan of yours..." or something like that.

One year, I made a special meal. I took our son to my parents' house for the night. I lit a fire in the fireplace (first time I think). Then I had a five course meal set up...each course in a different room with little love notes to greet him as we dined. It was very romantic, yet very simple. My favorite kind!

Of course, some years I get the big flower bouquets at school (though I am not one for the traditional red roses...I love white flowers like white roses or lilies or mixed flower bouquets). And some years, Mark joins me at school for lunch. Some years we just have a family meal.

This year I had thought about surprising Mark with tickets to a Queen tribute at the local arts center (it is supposed to be very good) and dinner out. But financially, I decided it was just not the way to go. Instead, Mark surprised me. We are going to the movies. A rare treat instead. (And even as costly as movies are, it is much cheaper than the night I had planned)

No matter how we celebrate, I hope he always knows how very much I love him!
PS Anybody else want to share Valentine surprises?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Give Me a Break!

I thought about yelling that a time or two today. It wasn't a bad day. It was just one of those going ninety to nothing days. The kind where you feel like you are running in circles and then not getting anywhere... I just truly needed a break along the way.

First of all, yes, that mirror picture in my last post happened recently. As in yesterday. I was backing out of the garage. We have both cars in there, so we have to scoot to the sides. I have been known a time or two to scrape the side with that mirror on the way out. Usually I am a fairly good judge about whether I need to go back in and try again. Apparently my judgment was a tad bit off yesterday. I backed out, noticed I was cutting it close with my mirror, and went ahead and backed out all of the way, expecting my mirror to bounce back like usual. Only this time it bounced off. It was thankfully attached by wires but it was no longer fully attached nor in working order. I went ahead and left, calling Mark as I drove down the street. When he finally answered, I told him there was a little problem with my mirror. My kids were giggling. Yes, giggling in the back seat. Of course, he did give me an, "Awww, Honey!" to which I quickly responded, "Well, it isn't like I meant to..." And then my kids were fully laughing at me. I really am not as ditzy as I appear. It is actually a rare thing for me to do something like this. Really!

Oh, I wouldn't have been in a hurry to share my misfortune if I hadn't known that my dear hubby would be picking up my vehicle to gas it up for me (the light was on). I figured I should tell him before he saw it.

I thought since the mirror was in one piece, it could just be put back on. Apparently not. I have to get a whole new mirror.

So what did I get for Valentine's Day? A sideview mirror and a laptop screen. Exciting, huh?

Until my mirror is in, my dad helped secure it for me with the tape you see in the picture. Gotta love duct tape!


I really am doing a Valentine surprise post (about some surprises we have done for one another over the years) but I am just not awake enough to do it tonight.

I will say that it was a crazy day. School was a whirlwind of activity. The kids are on about four weeks now of indoor recess. They have been sweet as can be, but they have a LOT of energy. (All you have to do is peek into my house and see the craziness!) Plus Valentine's Day is a BIG deal when you are five. I cannot explain it but I will say that it is on the level of Christmas. I think it is the thought of candy. Today was a whirlwind of meeting with parents, meeting with the principal to discuss our "Gender Matters" book, organizing V-Day party supplies, etc. Finally at the end of the school day, we bustled out of the door and got Child 2 to gymnastics. Child 3 and I ran to pick up Child 4, then we headed home. We were home for about twenty minutes (of craziness) when we hopped back in the car to go get Child 2. Then we came home again for about 30 minutes. We did some "costume changes" and then hopped back in the car to go back to school. Child 3's PTA performance (the kindergarten Valentine program) was tonight. While there, Child 4 became a deputy kindergartener since Mark had to pick up Child 1 from swim practice. So that means I was teacher AND mommy tonight. Before the program started, I sent Child 2 out to her basketball practice which was thankfully at our school tonight. We had the program (Child 3 did well, especially since she had protested several times that she did NOT want to perform :). I tag teamed Mark. He took the other three home and I headed out to the gym to watch our basketball player practice and bring her home. We finally got home around 7:45. I was starving at that point. (Did you know our kindergarten eats lunch at 10:40???) And pretty darn tired!

Oh, one little drawback of our crazy day was I didn't exercise. I have been doing it right when I get home but I was never home a long enough period to do it. And by the time I was home for the night, I was too tired to even try. My second time to miss exercising in a month. Bummer.

Now I am headed to bed. All kids have Valentines filled out. Teacher treats are ready to go. And after a little sleep, I will be ready to face the day!

Have a good one!
PS I haven't forgotten my "gratitudes"...

I am thankful that my computer screen (hopefully the right one) is ON its way! This computer has been wonderful and I will still use it. But there are times we need more than one computer at home. Plus, my printer is on the other laptop. And so are all of my addresses. Maybe I can actually send out Christmas cards this month. :)

I am grateful that the next snowstorm (that is even hitting Texas and Mississippi) is going to the SOUTH of us!

And I am thankful for so many parents in my class willing to send things for our Valentine's party. I have a wonderful group this year (students and parents).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Is...

I have been thinking a lot about love. Must be love is in the air. Or Valentine's Day. So I thought I would dedicate a post to love. (Though there are many types and examples of love in my life, I am going to stick with the romantic kind of love this evening...)

Love is...

putting toothpaste on your wife's toothbrush every night, just because.

picking up a couple of cans of natural almonds that you know your hubby loves to eat when you are at the store.

going out in the freezing weather to fill your wife's car with gas since her light is coming on...

guessing your wife's weight to be thirty pounds lighter than it actually is.

seeing him in the halls at school and feeling your heart go all aflutter...

taking your family to the beach every year even though you would rather go snow skiing.

dressing your children in shoes even as little babies when you go out just because you know that is what he prefers.

surprising your wife at school with a lemon slush from Sonic.

picking up a big bag of peanut m and m's each holiday for the one you love even though you know having them in the house will be a huge temptation for you!

going to your wife's school and trying to present a love letter over the intercom as a surprise (but having to stop when you become too emotional...)

supporting your husband's decision to change jobs even though you yourself feel so secure in the job he already has, yet you know that the new job is the one that will make him even happier...

encouraging your wife to get her Master's degree even though it is more money to spend and a lot of time at home alone with the kids on the weekends while she goes to class.

not fainting or "freaking out" when your wife suddenly announces that she wants to adopt. Then reacting the same way when she comes back and says it a couple years later...

not telling your wife you lost your job earlier in the day right before her first baby shower so she can enjoy the baby shower, gifts, etc without having to worry.

sending a fax of disgust to the former boss who "let go" your husband (who doesn't know you are sending the fax) without reason, letting the company know what they truly lost.

driving to Orlando on your Christmas vacation, spending money you probably shouldn't spend, just because your wife asked you to...

encouraging your spouse to travel to the baseball College World Series even though it is your high school reunion (and you have already paid to attend).

never complaining when a tired wife says "Tonight we eat out or scrounge for food here...".

e-mailing him throughout the day just to say "I love you..."

getting up each morning to get breakfast ready for the kids while your wife has a few minutes to herself to fully wake up.

encouraging your husband to go to a basketball game even though that leaves you home with four kids, two of which have homework assignments that will use every bit of strength she has let for the day to oversee :)

giving your wife a "night off" each week during the summer so she can have a little time to herself after being at home all day, every day.

knowing that you can call your hubby and tell him that you just knocked the sideview mirror off the passenger side of your van while driving out of the garage, confident that he will not get mad at you...

To me, that is what love is.

What is love to you?

Next entry: Valentine surprises...


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Top 10 Reasons I Am SOOOO Over the Snow...

I think if you have read any of my blog posts in the last couple of months, you have probably figured out that I am not a big fan of winter. I don't like cold weather. I get chilled easily and when I do, it takes me a LONG time (think hours) to warm back up. That is why I never ask for recess duty. I don't know that I could survive even a mildly cool day! And I crave sunlight. I don't know that I truly have SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) but I do know my spirit is happier when the weather is warm and sunny. I know, I know, if I lived somewhere else, I might miss the winter, the changing of seasons. I am just not sure on that one. That first snow is usually so pretty. Other than that, I could do without winter time I think.

That being said, we have had the snowiest winter ever. At least since I have lived here. Even last year when we had the big Icegate, we didn't miss this much school. Plus we just never really got a good snow. Apparently God is answering some children's prayers though, giving snow after snow after snow. And all I can say? No Mo' Snow!

So, rather than get depressed that we had yet another snow day and my summer is getting shorter and shorter, here is a little fun. At least for me. This is the Top 10 Reasons I am SOOOOO over the snow...feel free to add your own in the comments. :)

10. Winter weather clothes are bulky. They take up a lot of room. That may not sound so bad, but when you have two very clothed children sharing a room and a couple of dressers...well, it is just a bit of a challenge to figure out where to put everything! Not to mention, for me, when you are already so self-conscious about your weight, and then you add another couple of pounds of clothing...well, it is tough on the ego/self-esteem.
9. Our vehicles are dirty. All of the time. Not long ago, we went through an automatic drive through. I simply could not stand how filthy the van was. I mean, it is uncool enough to drive a mini van. Driving a filthy one is just completely unacceptable! Guess what? I need to have another carwash. It is filthy again.
8. No hiking. Okay, if I weren't so wimpy in cool weather, I might be tempted to hike a little in the snow. Not as much of a chance to see snakes and all. However, I am wimpy. It really does take me hours to warm up if I get chilled. We had just started the hiking together as a family on weekends, and I enjoyed that time so much. Plus it is good exercise and we get to see new parts of Arkansas. Next to traveling the world, it was a great time of adventure. Well, as adventurous as you can get with a two year old. Right now, spring seems so far away. Plus, it may take months for our ground will dry up enough that we can get back to it!
7. Inconsistency at school. If you ask me what my favorite time of year in school is, you might be surprised to learn that it is in the months of January and February. The first quarter of school, we are just learning routines and getting to know each other. The second quarter...well, much of it is spent in anticipation of Christmas. The end of school? Well, spring fever hits and then there is that whole "summer" thing to distract us. I see more growth academically and emotionally in January and February than any other time. The only problem is that for this January and February, our time has been so inconsistent. Don't get me wrong. The students are learning. And I am pleased with the progress I am seeing. But I cannot help but wonder how much more we would be learning if we could go to school. Every day!
6. Snowsuits, jackets, mittens, scarves, much gear for playing outdoors. And it really needs to be stored somewhere. (I keep hoping the attic but then we get another snow) But we don't have ample storage space. Especially for bulky gear. So right now it is on the little trampoline in the toy room. Ugh!
5. Food. I miss grilling out. Okay, I don't actually grill out. But I miss eating food that has been grilled by my wonderful husband. The one good thing is that I do get to eat soup. I don't get to do that in the summer around here...
4. Temps. While it would be so fun to be out in the snow playing (I did like to once in my life), lately the temps have been so low and the wind chill even lower, it is just too cold to be out.
3. Snow days. An occasional snow day is fine. Having one on a weekly basis (if not more) is not. I am watching my summer get shorter and shorter. Not to mention how this will mess up camp plans, vacation plans, etc. Ugh!
2. Eating. And eating. And eating. For some reason, when you are stuck at home and have a lot of free time inside, you want to cook and eat. I have been trying to be good since I am participating in Biggest Loser, but it is no easy task! I am sure it somehow dates back to the primitive instincts, storing away food for the winter. Either way, it is not healthy. :(
1. Indoor recess. Come step into an elementary school where kids have had one and a half recesses OUTSIDE in the last month. It is almost an electrifying environment. The kids need to be outside SOOOO bad. Please, snow, please...go away!

Reba (who is hoping we WILL be in school tomorrow...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Football?

I heard not long ago that the words "Super Bowl" were trademarked words...cannot use them. I am not sure who isn't supposed to use them (churches were one of the groups I heard mentioned), but to be on the safe side I will just say the Big Football Event. :)

So tonight we hosted the Big Football Event at our house. Every year our Bible Fellowship (or as the old-fashioned me likes to say...Sunday School :) class gets together for the Big Football Event as a time of fellowship, food, and football. As I have mentioned, we just have always gone to my parents' house. A lot of it is because with they have a dedicated room for playing/toys, so the little ones run off to play and I get a little time to just watch. Not football of course. I don't even care for Pro Ball. No, the commercials! One year Mark helped set up a whole men's fellowship associated with the Big Football Event at a friends' house. He went. The oldest may have gone. The rest of us? We went to my parents' house. I should also say that even though my parents are just down the road, I really don't see them often. My kids do; my mom will invite them to come play. But I myself don't get invited to play often. :) Really, most of our communication is done via e-mail or phone. So it has always been a nice time to visit. Between commercials of course.

Well, this year, Mark's miracle happened. When the talk about the Big Football Event came up in our Bible Fellowship, I opened my mouth and the words, "We'll host" came out. I am pretty sure Mark's jaw hit the floor. I still don't know why I said it. I guess it was just time to do something different. :)

So at first it looked like only a few people were coming. Thankfully by the end, we had a pretty full house. (I took pictures but didn't ask permission to post)

I actually gave up my Sunday afternoon nap to get some food ready. I made some mint chocolate chip brownies (with Child 2's help). I assembled some Hawaiian King's sweet roll ham sandwiches (with melted butter, poppy seeds, and mustard drizzled over the top). I also threw in some apples with peanut butter dip and a veggie tray just to be healthy. :) Mark found a yummy recipe for chicken wings with a barbecue sauce that baked in the oven. After about 45 minutes of smelling that, I was ready to eat the whole pan full! Then our guests supplied some goodies too. Rotel and chips. Yum. I an eat that all night (I did use my baked Tostitos). Another family brought a salsa with all kinds of things in it that I wouldn't eat on their own but sure did love together. (Like corn. Avocados. Oh, wait, I would eat those on their own) Another family brought some quesadillas. Oh, yum. And chocolate chip cookies. Mark surely enjoyed a few of those! M and m's. The kids chowed down on them. And someone else brought the drinks...much appreciated. So we had a pretty full spread!

Now the oldest told us from the beginning he would not be staying with us for the Big Game. He is a huge football fan. And he likes to focus. I think he thought that by staying, he wouldn't be able to focus with so many people. And knowing him, that is about right! My mom also offered to take any other kids (at least from our crew). After wrestling with that decision, I decided that it might be best for J-man to go there. I love that kid. And when he got home, I hugged him extra tight and gave him lots of kisses. But with that many new people, he would have gone into shy mode. And I would have had an extra appendage for the rest of the night...hardly a way to be a gracious hostess. Nor enjoy the evening. Even though he was a little sad to leave us, he had a wonderful time and came home quite talkative.

As sometimes happens, the men gathered in the living room. It was fun to share our Living in HD/Panasonic story with others. The kids moved from play area to play area (finally settling in for a movie in another room). And the women gathered (most of the time) in the dining room. I just really enjoyed the talking, the laughing, the sharing. I just don't have many opportunities to gather together with friends like that. I really should do it more often. Other than a child coming to tattle on occasion, I got to be a grown up, not just a mom.

In the end, I think you know who won. Even if I hadn't seen the ending, I would have figured out very quickly based on about 30 status updates on my computer. (I really had no opinion of either team. That being said, I had read today that when one league wins, the trend is for the stock market to go up. And vice versa with the other league. I won't embarrass myself with trying to tell you which league was which. It is all Greek to me. I just know that with tonight's outcome, I expect to see the kids' college fun take an upward swing. :)

I never really saw a commercial. At least on the t.v. Just too much going on. Later, Mark and I watched several on the CBS Sports website. I never found one that just had me rolling with laughter, though the Sumo wrestler one came fairly close.

Oh, and those chicken wings. They were amazing!

More later,
PS Please repeat after me. No Mo Snow!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Just Call Me Grace...

I apologize for the lack of posting. I know, I know, I am sure life has been incomplete without any entries here. Just amuse me and nod your head. :)

I have been SO tired this week. I have noticed that it comes in waves...the fatigue. Sometimes I can handle our crazy, busy life, and then other times, I just feel like pulling up the covers and staying under them for a few days. Ahhh, the joys of motherhood.

So I have been less than graceful this week. On Thursday, when I got to school, I parked next to the curb. When I got out, I was level with the van door. Big mistake. When I shut it (the driver's door), the bottom corner caught me on the back of my foot near my heel. Ouch! I limped inside and didn't look at it for a while because I was afraid I was spewing blood. Thankfully I wasn't. :) However, I lost some skin in the process and now have a beautiful purple bruise about the size of a half dollar. Then last night, we headed to Catfish Hole to meet our friends J and A (and their baby) for dinner. We got there first and got our table. While Mark got everyone settled, I went to the front to see if they had arrived. They had, so we started walking to the table. Unfortunately, in my rush, I ran into a rocking chair and hit my shin. I haven't looked at it yet. I am scared to. I am pretty sure it is a lovely shade of purple too. Keep this up, and I may be a colorful rainbow!

Oh, what a week it has been. It has just been one of those weeks. It wasn't that bad at school, other than we are having to have indoor recess nearly every day right now which is never fun...for the kids or me. :) But home has been a bit of a challenge. That would be kids, not my hubby. It seems like at any given moment we have someone crying. And you would think that after four kids, the crying wouldn't faze me at all, but you know what? I think every time it happens, another nerve frays. Why the crying? I have no idea. One child wants to do everything on his own, but he isn't completely capable of that yet. And he seems to have a pretty strong will. If he gets it into his mind to do something (regardless of whether we have granted permission), he will do it or die trying. Not really die, of course, but he will not give up. Then there is another child who just cries on occasion, usually if things don't go their way. And apparently that happens alot. At least this week. Really, I love my children. I just would like one day of smiles. (Not that they are sad all of the is unfortunately those moments that seem to stick out in my mind right now :) I actually looked at Mark at dinner and asked him, "Do you ever wonder what our life would be like...?" I didn't even have to finish the question. He knew exactly what I was talking about. We decided we would probably be living in a smaller house, have more disposable income, and travel a lot more. Hmmm, waiting for the downsides. Just kidding. :) Anyway, I keep thinking, "This too will pass...this too will pass..." Please tell me it will pass!

Tomorrow night is Super Bowl Sunday. We are having friends from church over. This will be our first year to see it on the "big screen" we won from Panasonic...that should be fun. However, I will not be watching for the football. I actually have no vested interest in either team. I honestly don't even care about pro football. I shall be watching for the commercials, my favorite part. :) If anyone wants to join us, feel free. :)

I think there is a threat of more snow on Monday. I am really hoping that storm system passes by. I know I can't change the weather. And I am trying to be upbeat. But I really don't like missing all of this school. I like my summer break. Not to mention, our state wide testing dates are set. Doesn't matter how many days we miss. So less time in the classroom is less time to prepare for those...I am not saying anything about the reliability of testing. I am just saying that it is unfair in a way for kids who haven't missed school yet to be tested over materials, while other districts have had to miss several days due to the weather will be tested on the same things. Such is life.

I love the "If Wishes Were Fishes" comments. They are so much fun! It is like are all sitting around, having a girls' night out. All that is missing is the chocolate. That and being in one place. :)

I don't think I have updated lately but Ribby II is still alive. He still likes to sleep on his side. I guess he is just a side sleeper. But he is swimming around a lot more. Of course, he is a fish. All of that could change tomorrow.

I really am going to post on "Why Gender Matters" but I am about to read another chapter, so I thought I would wait.

Can you believe V-Day is next weekend?

Still dreaming of the beach...

Totally random thoughts. That is because I should be sleeping. This is one of the first nights I have stayed awake. I might actually have the energy to get out of these clothes and into pj's tonight. Might.

I don't ever want to brag...I try really hard not to do that with the kids. I don't want to ever appear prideful. Besides, when you have those moments, they tend to bite you in the backside later. :) But I do want to say congrats to my daughter's basketball team...they are undefeated! I think today's win secured their number one spot in their league, even though they have a couple more games left. Of course, in basketball, you can be number one, but it is how you play in the tournament that determines the big winners. So it is still anyone's game. Either way, she has had really enjoyed playing. I have enjoyed watching her play though I don't get to watch it as much as I would like. (Saturday morning games are rough, trying to get everyone out of the our rule is to not wake sleeping babies unless we have to. Ever.)

I cannot remember if I updated, but Mark's mom's surgery to remove the tumor on her pituitary gland is on March 8. It is a pretty complicated surgery with some definite risks. Please pray for her to feel His peace as she waits and faces surgery. And of course, we are praying for no malignancy. Thank you!

I don't remember if I said (I forget, between Facebook and here) but my weigh in was the same this week as last. Maybe about half a pound but it was hard to say. I was a bit disappointed though it seems like most of the "contestants" were like me...either stayed the same or gained...the joys of snow days :). I really have been working hard...I have only missed one day of exercise in the last three and a half weeks. And I am eating better. Drinking more water than I ever have. I was hoping for a bit of a loss. I do feel better anyway. Unfortunately, I won't win the Biggest Loser with that!

I really should be sleeping. But I am really enjoying the fact that nobody is crying right now!

Okay, I really am going to go for now. I will check in tomorrow. :)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Keep Your Head in the Game

I have some songs running through my head. One is from High School Musical. I cannot remember which one...I, II, or III. But it is called "Keep Your Head in the Game". In the movie, it is referring to basketball. For me, it is a reference to parenthood.

The other song running rampant in my mind is an oldie but goodie that I can only remember key words from. "Oh, what a night..."

It actually started this morning. I won't name names but someone woke up REALLY grouchy this morning. So the morning started a bit rough. (By the way, I woke up tired but it was NOT me :)

Thankfully by the time we were out of the house, moods were improving. Nerves were settling. And all was well with the world.

Fast forward about 12 hours. Now it is bedtime. And guess what, we dealt with the same thing. Lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth. (This time, at least two kids were involved)

And I just shook my head and wondered "Why me?"

Let's face it. Parenting is hard work. And some days, it is almost a bigger job than I can do. Or think I do. But I have to keep my head in the game. (And hope for a time out really soon!)

More later,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wii Did It!

Ugh...after my whole tirade about spam comments, I got three or four today! They are almost always on old posts. I tweaked my comment settings to see if that will help. It isn't a big deal, just annoying. I am just not sure why I am suddenly getting them. I stayed under the radar for so long...

I finally finished the Wii Active 30 day challenge (in a little more than thirty days :) today! I feel so...accomplished. I had to laugh when I was doing the last workout today. The trainer announced that it was time for squats. My youngest just lit up, yelled "squats", and started doing them as he said, "Down, up, down, up..." Apparently he is paying attention to my workout too.

I was feeling brave or maybe forgetful after school. The kids were talking about Valentines. I also had promised myself that I could have the Wii Active More (like it is a reward or something :) if I finished the challenge. So, the three of us (the oldest was swimming) headed to Target. I once swore to never go to the grocery store with all four but this was Target with three. Hmmm, I may need to add that to my list of "not to do" activities too.

Okay, it wasn't that bad. It is just quite an experience. I have one who is...what is the word? Enthusiastic? Stubborn? Loud? All of the above? (Yes!) So as I go down the aisles, he is identifying familiar items, characters, etc. "Elmo, Mommy!" "Sponge Bob Square Pants!" And the more excited he is, the louder he is. Plus, if I don't respond immediately (like in the moment he actually utters the words), he goes to a very high pitch that causes heads to turn our direction. Then there is Child 3. I laugh when I think of my original assessment of her. When we picked her up in Guatemala, I was astounded at how still she was. We would put toys and gifts out in front of her, and she was very reluctant to touch anything. Apparently she was just in a state of shock at these strange people picking her up and taking her from her comfortable surroundings. She is...energetic. Busy. Inquisitive. All of the above? They are traits that will serve her well one day. For now, it can be a bit exhausting at times. She picks up, touches, feels anything and everything. When I was buying the Wii Active More, the young man checking me out (as in taking my payment for the Wii game, not looking me over :) got a buzz that someone needed assistance. He looked really confused because he had just been out in the electronics area. Come to find out, it was MY child who was playing with the buzzer nearby, the one that alerts an attendant someone needs help. Finally, Child 2. She first of all freaks out in parking lots. She is the "momma" of the house. Sometimes more than me. When we are walking in, if a car is moving within a mile of us, she has grabbed her sister's arm (who detests being touched or told where to walk). Then, like I said yesterday, she is a "wanter". In a store, she wants anything new, anything bright, anything fun. So, with those three, shopping is an adventure. We did get Valentines (other than for oldest...I am not sure what fifth graders do for V-Day!)...I will say they all fit their personalities. Any guesses what they got?

I know, I know, I still am not talking about why gender matters. That requires deep thought. I don't have any of those right now. I had to set my alarm for the first time this morning (in a few days)...I really missed sleeping in until 8:30. Plus, I did my Wii Active workout (which was a toughie, like a final exam :) then just had to try out the Wii Active More. (Do I sound like a commercial? I really am not getting any kind of compensation for this...) So, that post is coming...another day!

I better get to bed. My alarm is still set. At least it is a short week!

PS I LOVED the "I Wish..." comments! They made me smile!

Monday, February 1, 2010

If Wishes Were Fishes...

the sea would be full.

Okay, I know I said I was going to post about "Gender Matters", and I will...this week. But I have to post on wishes because that is what is on my mind right now. And if I don't sit down and type it, then I will keep "writing" it in my head which will drive me batty. And we can't have that, can we?

I will admit, I had to look up the rest of this song. I know there is another one about wishes and horses, but this is the one that always comes to mind. Well, partially. I just couldn't remember the rest of it.

Our girls are "wishers". For child 2, the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. ALWAYS. She is always wishing for something more, something better, something different. When we go to the store, she is the one pointing to everything saying, "I need that, I need that..." (Not "want" but "need") Of course, when I tell her she can have all of those needs when she buys them with her own money, she isn't in as much of a hurry to get them. :) Then there is Child 3. I probably hear the words "I wish..." about a thousand times a day from her lips. Sometimes it is her way to ask for things she knows I will probably say no to...I think she is trying to "read my reaction". "I wish I could have some candy when I am done eating." "I wish we could watch a movie right now." Sometimes she is just talking out loud. "I wish I was the mom and you were the kid..." "I wish our house was down the street." And sometimes is just living in the land of wants. "I wish we could go to Disney World every school vacation." "I wish we had five cars..." I will admit there are days that I think I will scream if I hear "I wish..." one more time. Especially when I have worked hard to make a nice dinner and I hear, "I wish we could have whatever we want tonight..." Kind of feels like a slap in the face.

Of course, God has used my sweet little children to constantly teach me lessons about Him. And I am sure there have been MANY times He is sitting on His throne, looking down at me and the life I have, shaking his head when I utter the words, "I wish we had more money..." " I wish we could go on more trips..." and on and on. Might feel like a slap in the face to Him too!

That being said, I am going to have some fun with the "I wishes". If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Then I will have them out of my system and again go back to being content with the life I do have and thankful to the One who has given it to me... Feel free to comment and throw in your own "I wishes..." just for fun of course!

  • I wish spring would come. Now. I don't really care what a furry little groundhog sees or says tomorrow. I am DONE with winter and snow and ice. Done. I want above freezing temperatures and NO more school days!
  • I wish my children could all just get along. All of the time. Some of them do some of the time. But I want ALL of them to get along ALL of the time. Is that asking too much?
  • I wish my computer screen would come back in stock so it could be sent to me. I miss my computer.
  • I wish we could have another hour or two a day to accomplish all I need to accomplish.
  • I wish I could find a heavenly copy of the Manual for Raising Children that would detail everything I need to know about motherhood, down to the smallest detail.
  • I wish Mtn. Dew (the real stuff, not that "diet" stuff that is so lacking) had NO calories.
  • I wish that I could lose weight just based on my exercise routine.
  • I wish I could stay in a hot shower or bathtub for hours on end. I told Mark that the other day. I think there is nothing better than being immersed in warm water. Plus I cannot hear what is going on elsewhere in the house when the water is on.
  • I wish I had a Roomba. I have a feeling we will splurge on one before the end of the year. I cannot tell you what our kitchen/breakfast area looks like on a daily basis. It is a constant battle!
  • I wish there was no cancer.
  • I wish I had met Mark's dad.
  • I wish my grandfathers had met our youngest two.
  • I wish I could fix all of the hurts in the lives of friends and families.
  • I wish I could sing. Really sing. On key. I wish I had a voice that was music to the ears of others.
  • I wish I liked veggies more. I just don't. I will eat a lot of raw veggies now. But the smell of cooked green beans STILL turns my stomach!
  • I wish I could shield my kids from all of the hurts in the world.
  • I wish our house was just a tiny bit bigger.
  • I wish someone would come in and landscape our yard, making it pretty, functional, and an oasis...
  • I wish I could look tan. Even just a light brown would be nice!
  • I wish I were a few inches taller.
  • I wish Catfish Hole were open on Mondays. I always crave it on Mondays. Now my stomach is growling.
  • I wish we (my extended family) could spend some time together at the beach. That may be my dying wish one day. Though I hope not too soon.
  • I wish Mark and I could have a weekend away in New York City. I just don't want it to cost anything.
  • I wish we knew a little more about our daughter's birthmother.
  • I wish we would go ahead and re-adopt both kids so we could officially change the youngest's name. Instead, we took the kids to Disney World. (It isn't cheap to do either!)
  • I wish I would wake up tomorrow and all of the snow would be gone!
  • I wish I could have the room of my mini-van but look like I am driving my beloved Honda Accord.
  • I wish my sister (and her family) didn't live so far away.
  • I wish sugar/corn syrup were GOOD for you!
  • I wish I didn't have to go work out again. And again. And again.
  • I wish I never had to shave my legs. Not that I want to lose my legs. I just want to lose the hair on them.
  • I wish I had about three days of no interruptions to organize this house.
  • I wish I felt "caught up". I never feel caught up.
  • I wish my kids obeyed immediately, completely, and from the heart, the FIRST time I told them something.
  • I wish we had a kids' museum in our area. I wish someone would give me a really large grant to START a kids' museum in our area.
Okay, since my wishes are NOT coming true, I have to stop and go work out. Again. My time of peace and quiet is running short. I have my wishes out of my system. At least for a few minutes. What kinds of wishes do you have?